After years of sluggish sales due to the down economy, some Tampa Bay auto dealers say they're finally seeing a comeback.
"At Reeves Volkswagen, we're up over 200 percent from last year," said sales manager Stephen Rosemurgy.
A new report from TrueCar.com predicts September sales of new cars in the U.S. to increase 11 percent overall from a year ago. Volkswagen sales are expected to rise 31 percent nationally.
Dealers say customers are being more fiscally-conscious when they hit car lots.
"I think they're looking for value, what they get for their money," Rosemurgy said Thursday.
Economists say the driving force behind the boom: consumers feel they've postponed a new car purchase long enough.
"Now, we're at a point where there's really a replacement need. People's cars are getting a lot older and we're finding the banks are a lot more willing to make auto loans, then certain kinds of other loans," said Raymond James economist Dr. Scott Brown.
Experts say the increase in consumer spending is fueled by income, but also by an overall improved consumer confidence of their financial standings.
While the increased demand for new cars is promising for dealerships today, economists say the road to an economic recovery is going to be a bumpy ride.
"A lot of people would use their homes as ATMs, taking out seconds and then buying cars. When the housing bust came, that force for auto sales went away, but it's starting to come back now," Brown said.
Auto dealerships say fuel efficiency and value are the top demands for drivers in the market for a new car.
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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